Today...we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't reach for
the key to the study and begin
reading. Take down the dulcimer.

Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to
kneel and kiss the ground.

--Jalál Al-Din ar Rumi

Thank you for visiting with me.
Please do visit my "Latest Book" page
and peruse the info there on my new
book Exploring the Spiritual: Pathways for

Counselors and Psychotherapists.

Regards, Dave Matteson

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow woods
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no steps had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Someday ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

There is no question we have to make important life decisions, and the choices we make have serious consequences. But the idea that we can only choose one of two options is only true some of the time. Possibly many people prefer a less complex life, or possibly they are not strongly drawn to both of the two roads --but for me the choices rarely are either/or.

Why is it Frost anticipates looking back and “saying this with a sigh”? Does he feel he made the wrong choice? Probably not, for he sees the road he chose as “having perhaps the better claim”, and in the end states that the choice he made “has made all the difference.” Yet there seems to be regret --perhaps regret just because he grieves, and we grieve, that we can’t do everything---that we can’t travel both roads. But also, when we look back, we may regret that at the time we failed to do more than just look down the one road.

Very few of us decide early in life exactly what our contribution will be, then set out on a straight path in steady pursuit, preparing ourselves to make that presaged contribution. Our identities emerge slowly, and our early aspirations are sometimes unrealistic. These aspirations often lead us on a search for an external holy grail. Later, we realize this external quest is not congruent with what we have come to recognize as our inner wishes, and our own particular talents.

One of the wonderful things about living in a pluralistic culture with many alternatives is that, even late in life, we may resonate with some new experience, and have the courage to make a new choice --and even go down a road once rejected.

Perhaps the central characteristic of the spiritual life is remaining open
to being reborn, to seeing things anew,

to becoming engaged in a fresh way--
that is, being ressurrected.

Dave Matteson

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